At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced nine new hardware partners for its Windows Phone platform including Lenovo, ZTE and LG Electronics. The software giant is looking to build momentum for the mobile platform in the mass market.
Other hardware partners include regionally focused players like Longcheer, Gionee and JSR in China, and Karbonn and Lava (Xolo) in India. It also included contract manufacture Foxconn.
To drive adoption but new vendors, Microsoft announced its Windows Hardware Partner Portal that provides access to tools and content to build Windows Phone devices.
The move should provide some added flexibility for device makers. For instance, the requirement to include specific buttons has been removed. This will enable a company who also builds hardware for Android, can easily adapt for WP8. The company would thus benefit from economies of scale for components and design.
Microsoft is also working with Qualcomm and will be supporting additional processors including the low cost Snapdragon 200 and Snapdragon 400 (4G LTE), which will lower price points of devices even further.
The Windows Phone platform is currently solely driven by Nokia. The budget Nokia Lumia 520 is the world’s best-selling Windows Phone.